Kenya - School Health Clubs: Can they change hygiene behaviours?

Updated - Monday 22 August 2016

Snel, Marielle and Rop, Rosemary (2004)

The project, funded by a Dutch NGO, SIMAVI, concentrated on seven communities and schools. It began in 2001 and ended in 2002. Seven water facilities were provided and through a demonstrative approach, SANA, promoted the construction of environmental sanitation structures (latrines, refuse pits, dish racks). Strong hygiene education awareness was included to ensure replication of the sanitation component.
All seven projects were implemented as a water and sanitation package. Each project area targeted a school and the community at large.

From an evaluation, it was confirmed that SHCs have had some success and are indeed behaviour change agents. They have been regular in their relaying of health messages both at school and at home. However, in spite of this, it was realised that several issues need to be taken into consideration in further SSHE training:

·The school administration needs to be as keen as the students, as there is a distinct disparity in some of the schools. SSHE training should perhaps include the other staff in the school, to increase sensitisation and overall awareness on health and hygiene issues.

·One thing the SHC members have overlooked is their need to assess when the water in the leaky tins is finished and whether it needs to be filled more times a day or the leaky tins need to be increased, as cases were reported of students sometimes lacking water. This issue could be included in the SSHE training and encouraged by the patrons.

·Large-scale disinfection of the water is a problem that the schools need to address. One option could be solar disinfection (SODIS), which makes use of the sun’s ultra-violet rays to disinfect water. It is comparatively cheap and requires few resources.

·It has been realised that convenience is an essential factor for behaviour change to take place. Having latrines and leaky tins within easy reach in the school compound has encouraged use of both by both children and adults.

Clearly, SHCs have changed the behaviours of the children and of the community around them. Their effectiveness has been strengthened by the combination of SSHE, which is the software, and the presence of latrines, leaky tins, and compost pits (hardware). SHC members also act as role models in their schools and promote positive behaviours among their peers and should be encouraged globally.

The case study was abstracted from: Snel, M. (2004), "THE WORTH OF SCHOOL SANITATION AND HYGIENE EDUCATION (SSHE)", IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, Delft, the Netherlands

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